Prionopelta vampira

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Prionopelta vampira
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Amblyoponinae
Genus: Prionopelta
Species: P. vampira
Binomial name
Prionopelta vampira
Overson & Fisher, 2015

Prionopelta vampira casent0041504 p 1 high.jpg

Prionopelta vampira casent0041504 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This species is almost entirely restricted to northern Madagascar where it is found in litter in rainforest, littoral rainforest, and montane rainforest from 25–1200 meters of elevation. Intriguingly, P. vampira has also been collected at a single, highly disjunct site in far southeastern Madagascar 1048 km to the south near Enakara in the province of Toliara. (Overson and Fisher 2015)

Identification

Overson and Fisher (2015) - P. vampira is the only member of the genus from the Malagasy region in which workers entirely lack any visible metanotal suture when viewed dorsally; additionally the posterior propodeal edge is noticeably more concave in dorsal view than any other Malagasy Prionopelta.

This species, which has similar cephalic scupturing to Prionopelta xerosilva, is otherwise unmistakable due to its extremely long apical tooth, lack of a metanotal suture, and strongly concave posterior propodeal edge when viewed dorsally.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Malagasy Region: Madagascar (type locality).

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Biology

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • vampira. Prionopelta vampira Overson & Fisher, 2015

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

Description

Worker

(N=8). HL 0.49–0.53 (0.5); HW 0.41–0.45 (0.42); SL 0.27–0.31 (0.28); WL 0.55–0.62 (0.58); PetL 0.19–0.23 (0.21); PetW 0.24–0.26 (0.25); T1W 0.35–0.39 (0.37); CI 81.78–85.31 (83.78); PI 103.96–130.2 (120.71); SI 64.25–69.36 (67.33).

Highest cephalic index on average of Malagasy Prionopelta (CI 81.78–85.31 (83.78); posterior margin of the head with slight notch medially in full-face view; cephalic foveae shallow, large, and widely spaced; directly adjacent cephalic foveae either completely lacking, or very rare; if any foveae are adjacent, then always with only 2–3 foveae connected, and these usually always medially on the head in full-face view; majority of cephalic foveae separated by 1–3 foveal diameters, appear cleanly scooped from the shining integument, and lack raised margins; median cephalic band devoid of foveae is uniformly broad, and not swelling above the integument; apical tooth very long, longest of all Malagasy Prionopelta, over four times the length of the third apical tooth measured from base to tip; sculpture of the dorsum of the mesosoma consisting of large, shallow foveae which are widely spaced at 2–3 foveal diameters with punctures present between foveae; no metanotal suture present in dorsal view, but rather a shining surface with no clear distinction between propodeum and mesonotum; in a few specimens, a slightly perceptible depression is sometimes visible at the site of the metanotal suture, with associated notches on the lateral edges of the dorsum of the mesosoma, but this depression always lacks scarring; in lateral view, mesopropodeal suture weak, appearing as a gradual depression rather than a scar; posterior propodeal edge seen dorsally strongly concave; sharp lamellae of the posterior propodeum present.

Type Material

Holotype, pinned worker, MADAGASCAR, Antsiranana, Forêt d’Analabe, 30.0 km 72° ENE Daraina, 13.08333°S, 49.90833°E, 30 m, littoral rainforest, sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood), collection code BLF09426, 27.xi.2003 (B.L. Fisher et al.) (California Academy of Sciences: CASENT0041504). Paratypes, three pinned workers with same data as holotype (CASC: CASENT0041500; CASENT0041501; CASENT0041502).

Etymology

The name of this species is inspired by the vampire-like nature of its exceptionally long apical tooth. The species epithet is a Latinized adjective of the German and Hungarian word “vampir”.

References